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Aphasia, Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Complications

Aphasia is a disorder of speech function in humans caused by abnormalities in the human brain. Generally, sufferers of this condition are often mistaken in choosing, stringing, and interpreting words into a correct sentence. In addition, Aphasia can also affect writing skills.

Causes of Aphasia

Injuries and damage in the part of language processing in the brain are a major cause of Aphasia. This disease generally attacks adults with stroke. Studies show that as many as 25-40 percents of stroke patients who recover continue to suffer from Aphasia. In certain cases, Aphasia is usually a symptom of epilepsy or a neurological disorder in humans. Injuries or damage to the brain that results in Aphasia can be triggered by a number of conditions, including:


  • Brain tumor.
  • Infection that affects brain function, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
  • Severe head injuries, for example, due to falls from a height or a traffic accident.
  • A disease that causes brain cells to decline, such as dementia and Parkinson's disease.

Aphasia Symptoms

Based on the symptoms experienced by sufferers, Aphasia can be divided into several types, including:

  • Receptive aphasia. In this type, sufferers will have difficulty understanding the intentions of the other person even if they can hear it clearly. As a result, the communication response of aphasia sufferers will be chaotic and difficult to understand.
  • Expressive aphasia. In this type, the sufferer knows what he wants to say to the other person, but he has difficulty expressing it.
  • Primary progressive aphasia. This condition causes a decrease in the ability to read, write, speak, and understand the conversation over time. Primary progressive aphasia is quite difficult to treat. However, this condition is rare.
  • Anomic aphasia. Word discovery becomes increasingly difficult for anomic Aphasia sufferers. This condition is generally termed anosmia. Anomic Aphasia sufferers have difficulty in choosing and finding the right words when writing and speaking.
  • Global Aphasia. This condition is classified as the most severe aphasia, usually occurs when someone has just had a stroke. In global Aphasia sufferers, they are unable to write, read, and have difficulty understanding other people's conversations.

In common cases, Aphasia can eventually cause anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation in the sufferer.

Aphasia Diagnosis

Examination of the severity of Aphasia will usually be performed by a doctor or speech and language therapist. The series of examinations aim to obtain results from the patient's efforts in writing, reading, understanding hearing, functional communication, and verbal expression.

  • Communication assessment. This test can be done simply, for example by mentioning objects in the room and asking for family names or relatives starting from a certain letter.
  • Observation of brain images. Observation aims to see how severe damage occurs in the patient's brain. Commonly used tools are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scan, and in some cases using positron emission tomography.

Aphasia Handling

Treatment for Aphasia depends on several factors such as the type of Aphasia, age, cause, and size and position of abnormalities in the patient's brain. Aphasia sufferers who have a stroke are encouraged to take part in speech therapy sessions from related experts. The therapy session that will take place routinely aims to improve the communication and speaking skills of people with Aphasia. In a therapy session, sufferers will also be taught how to communicate which does not have to involve conversation. If you have relatives or friends who suffer from Aphasia, here are some tips that you can do in communicating with them:

  • Get the attention of Aphasia sufferers before you start communicating.
  • Talking is not too loud, simple, and slow.
  • Use props in delivering messages.
  • Write or picture the messages you want to convey on a piece of paper. Keep eye contact and pay attention to body language and gesture use of Aphasia sufferers.
  • Use simple questions with "yes" or "no" answers, rather than long-winded questions.
  • Provide sufficient talk time for people with Aphasia.
  • Give encouragement and avoid overprotection of Aphasia sufferers.
  • Give praise when Aphasia sufferers have tried to talk.
  • Do the above in daily activities, anytime and anywhere.

In addition to therapy, doctors also usually prescribe drugs as a combination in the treatment of Aphasia. Examples are bifemelane, bromocriptine, idebenone, piracetam, or piribedil.

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